You are currently viewing The FDA's Menthol Cigarette Ban Is a 'Racial Justice' Issue, but Not in the Way Its Supporters Mean

The FDA's Menthol Cigarette Ban Is a 'Racial Justice' Issue, but Not in the Way Its Supporters Mean

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Supporters of the ban on menthol cigarettes that the Food and Drug Administration () proposed today say it is “a racial justice issue.” They are right about that, but not in the way they mean.

What they mean is that 85 percent of black smokers prefer menthol , compared to 30 percent of white smokers. “The number one killer of black folks is -related diseases,” Phillip Gardiner, a tobacco researcher and activist, told Slate‘s Julia Craven after the FDA announced plans for the ban last year. “The main vector of that is menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars.”

The FDA’s proposed rule would ban both, which the agency says will “address health disparities experienced by communities of color.” Action on Smoking and Health welcomed the FDA’s ban, calling it “a major step forward in Saving Black Lives” and averring that “menthol advertising violates the right to health of Black Americans.”

Although

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